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Notes: Fiers in 'rare' form; Puk update

@goodforball
March 5, 2020

MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Fiers, who has thrown two no-hitters in his Major League career, looked primed for a third on Thursday. Fiers excelled in the A’s 5-1 Cactus League victory over the Dodgers by contributing four scoreless innings. Edwin Rios’ second-inning single was the lone hit off Fiers, who

MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Fiers, who has thrown two no-hitters in his Major League career, looked primed for a third on Thursday.

Fiers excelled in the A’s 5-1 Cactus League victory over the Dodgers by contributing four scoreless innings. Edwin Rios’ second-inning single was the lone hit off Fiers, who not only reached his goal of throwing 60 pitches but also did so while maintaining midseason form, in the estimation of A’s manager Bob Melvin.

“To have that good of stuff at this time of spring, that’s kind of rare,” Melvin said. “He had his fastball, curveball, cutter and changeup. He elevated his fastball and threw it down in the zone.”

Said Fiers, “I feel ahead of schedule this year.” He added, however, “I still have to get some cobwebs out.”

Matt Chapman opened the scoring with his second spring homer, an opposite-field, first-inning drive to right off Walker Buehler. Chapman also caused some consternation by diving into the stands on an unsuccessful try to snare a foul pop-up down the third-base line, explaining later that he had misread the angle of the stands in his pursuit.

Good news on Puk
The A’s received encouraging news regarding left-hander A.J. Puk, who was shut down earlier in the week with a mild shoulder strain. Dr. Neil ElAttrache, a prominent orthopedist, found no structural damage in Puk’s shoulder. Melvin said Puk will resume trying to strengthen his shoulder before he attempts to play catch.

First cuts of camp
Oakland announced its first roster cuts of the spring. Right-handers Daniel Gossett, Grant Holmes and James Kaprielian were optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Right-handers Tanner Anderson, Wandisson Charles and Miguel Romero were reassigned to Minor League camp. Oakland now has 58 players on its spring roster.

Up next
The A’s will take on the state of Ohio by playing split-squad games Friday, at home against the Cincinnati Reds at Hohokam Stadium and against the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. Sean Manaea will confront the Reds, while Paul Blackburn will start against the Indians. Both games start at 12:05 p.m. PT.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.